The Cartier "Pendule Mystérieuses" or "Mystery Clocks" exude a mystic elegance that has captured the imagination of Cartier collectors for decades. Inspired by the work of 1850s French magician and clockmaker, Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin, Maurice Couet devised the first Mystery clock in 1913 which was named "Pendules Mysterieuses Model A." This name resonates with automotive pioneer Henry Ford's "Model T" car of the same period and, fittingly, the first Model A was sold at Cartier New York to American financial magnate, J.P. Morgan Jr. Thus, the Cartier Mystery clock demands an inquisitive mind-set, determined to decode its complexity, while appreciating its perplexing beauty.
The current example, a Model A, features rotating rock crystal discs to indicate the hours and minutes. This mechanism is invisibly powered by gears hidden in the frame, while the onyx base contains the clock's movement.
For a similar example, see Barracca, J., Negretti, G., and Nencini. F., Le Temps de Cartier, p.99.
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